Today on Paws 4 Thought I’m happy to welcome fantasy author, Julie Gilbert.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Julie.
I’m a high school chemistry teacher, a writer, and a Christian, not necessarily in that order. I also enjoy doing puzzles. Usually 1-2K pieces is a good amount. In my spare time, I review clean audiobooks in several genres. Pre-pandemic, I used to see a lot of movies in theaters. Perhaps I’ll return to that someday.
2. When did you first start writing?
The fascination with stories started when I was a kid, listening to my mom read to me. Eventually, that changed to me reading a lot on my own. Finally, around the time I was headed off to college, I decided to try to write something for fun. First story was pretty terrible, but the process taught me a lot. Taking that knowledge, I dove into a new project.
3. Who are your favorite authors?
That’s always a tough question. Brandon Sanderson and Dee Henderson come to mind as default favorites. They write very different kinds of books. Brandon Sanderson’s all about the epic fantasy, big worlds, cool magic systems, and so forth. Dee Henderson’s early works like the O’Malley series were absolutely amazing suspense books with a dash of romance.
4. I know you listen to a lot of audio books. What for you makes an excellent narrator?
While reviewing, I often change the speed, so reading cadence is a tad less important, but I still make snap judgment calls about whether I love their voice or not. In terms of skill, I look for whether the person can do a wide variety of credible voices for the characters.
I’m a tad pickier when it comes to choosing people for my own process. There’s the easy things like sound quality of the auditions and whether or not I like the narrator’s voice. Then, there are the more technical things like how many mistakes are made in the reading, what are their reading instincts (how they interpret the manuscript), and can they do a wide variety of character voices.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with nearly 20 awesome voice actors. Each has their strengths, and I’ve gotten a lot better at picking people over time. All have beautiful voices and immense talent. Of those I’ve worked with recently, Liz Brand (Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Shadow Council Series) and Reuben Corbett (Spirit’s Bane) stand out as people I would listen to read just about anything. I’m pretty sure they could make a calculus textbook sound good.
5. What inspires you to write?
I love almost every aspect of writing. Once upon a time, I think it was about trying to prove writing could be just fun, not something that needed to have every little color of pants mean something. Over time, it’s grown into exploring the characters and the themes, and just telling an entertaining tale. There’s a fun challenge to the task of crafting a tale, then commissioning an audiobook and hearing it come to life.
6. Tell us a little bit about your process when creating audio books.
Having an audiobook created is an expensive, addictive hobby. It starts with obtaining a narrator. That begins with claiming the book and extends to the grunt work of putting in the details. The most important step of that process is selecting an audition script that will show off the main character, some normal reading sections, and a few different characters.
After choosing somebody there’s a bit of back and forth boringness about contracts and dates and such before one simply steps back and lets the narrator do their magic. I prefer having the raw files uploaded so I can listen for odd noises and places the audio differs from the manuscript. Sometimes, these variances are fine, and other times they change the intended meaning.
What happens next depends on the narrator’s process. Some outsource the editing, and others do it themselves. If there’s an outside editor involved, it typically takes longer because you have to wait for this other person to go through the files.
7. What are you currently working on?
In audiobooks, I’m nearing the end of the audition phase of Princess Melia’s Plight. I’ve chosen three people out of 112-ish. Just need to get that down to one.
As for writing, I’ve sort of put it on hold for a few months. I’m working on a super-secret nonfiction project that’s mostly being done for the cathartic benefit. Meanwhile, I’m throwing my efforts into learning to run amazon ads. I’d like to see if it can be done profitably with my current works.
When I return to writing fiction, I’ll finish Devya’s Children book 5, then re-evaluate my goals. If I’m truly in it for the money, I may see which genres are hot early 2021. If my attitude remains as it was, I’ll let my heart (not my wallet) decide which project gets aired next.
8. What do you like to do to relax?
Most of my review listening happens while taking long walks. That’s one benefit of the pandemic and this virtual teaching thing. I am in my room so much that I have to force myself to get out and move. Luckily, I like walking. Once all of the Mandalorian Season 2 is out, I’ll probably watch that in a week. Other than that, I occasionally do jigsaw puzzles. (Best ones have mostly been Ravensburger.)
9. If you could have any superpower what would choose?
I’m gonna be lame and say healing. While flying could be cool, I’d probably just get motion sick, which would be not so great for those below. Sort of afraid of healing as a gift though. I write about enough characters with the healing gift, that I’ve probably done more thinking about the costs and consequences of such a thing. Still, it would be awesome to be able to right some wrongs diseases have wrought upon the world.
11. How can readers connect with you?
The easiest way to catch my attention is to email devyaschildren @ gmail.com. However, the best way to stay on top of news, new releases, random musings, cool giveways, and such is to subscribe to the newsletter, which can be found on my website.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.
Very happy to have you, DMK
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